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tv   Headline News  RT  May 13, 2013 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT

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coming up on r t and the battle of david versus goliath on the field of agriculture the highest court of the nation has sided with a corporate giant next we'll tell you the deciding factor in the case of an indiana farmer versus monsanto. nearly a month after the deadly explosion of a west texas fertilizer plant state investigators are watching a criminal investigation into the blast meanwhile authorities are now questioning a first responder we'll bring you the latest information coming up. fast food workers in detroit go on strike there's a latest addition to a growing find for higher wages in the fast food industry sights and sounds from the latest picket line in today's show.
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it's monday may thirteenth five him in washington d.c. lopez and you are watching r t well it's one step forward for biotech giant monsanto one major leap backwards for g.m.o. critics the u.s. supreme court handed down a decision today in favor of the mega company in a unanimous decision the justices ruled that indiana farmer running hugh bowman violated the company's patent on his genetically modified soybeans when he planted them for harvest without monsanto's permission or to correspondent liz wahl routes out the evidence in this case it's a supreme court decision with far reaching consequences for patents food farmers supreme court today ruled unanimously that an indiana farmer violated agra giant monsanto's seed pads you know there are certain things that the law prohibits what it prohibits you're making a copy. of the patented bench and that is what he did the case brought seventy five
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year old indiana farmer vernon you boman up against monsanto an enormous agricultural corporation that owns more than half the world seed market i don't know what but i could see nothing what i'd done was wrong monsanto requires farmers to buy it seeds genetically modified to resist this weed killer but bowman bought and planted second generation seeds from a grain elevator if they don't want me to go to the elevator and buy the grain then congress should pass a law saying you can't do it the ruling written by justice alina kagan says quote if simple copying were a protected use a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention the undiluted patent monopoly it might be sad but extend not for twenty years before only one transaction and that would result in less incentive for innovation than congress wanted but consumer and organic food groups
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a food am living things should be viewed differently we're not talking about the latest cell phone we're not talking about some fancy new technology this is about whether people going to be afford be able to afford to forment afford to the supreme court decision would come as a sigh of relief for companies that invent products that are able to copy itself but when it comes to food consumers may be paying the price for soybeans corn and pa and the cost for farmers to plant the seeds has skyrocketed between one thousand nine hundred five to two thousand and eleven the cost per acre rose three hundred twenty five percent this according to the center for food safety this farmer's saying i buy seeds that were the next generation removed from what you patented that patent should apply here anymore in montana saying the pattern applies forever for farmers like bowman the supreme court decision means they better pay up to use monsanto seed. no matter where they come from and from monsanto and agra giant with
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massive lobbying power another victory in washington liz mom. mark walters joined me earlier to discuss the case of the seventy five year old indiana farmer in greater detail walters is his lawyer he is also a seattle patent attorney and partner at former a lawrence and hong l.l.p. and i asked him what evidence one way or the supreme court's decision to side with monsanto you know it's tough to say what went on in their deliberations behind closed doors but there were a lot of briefs filed in support of monsanto from the biotech community there were about eighteen or so filed by the industry. from a companies like playing here at the universities and you know other biotech interests and then our on our side we had the small farmers and it's difficult to to organize them we did have some support but we had about five or six amicus
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response so i think the policy arguments here from the industry one out over the small farmers policy arguments so is this the end of the line for your client you know it's the end of the line for mr bowman he's got no judgment that it's sitting against him for about eighty five thousand dollars so. it's the end of the line for him on that particular judgement however i do hope and expect that he and other small farmers more will continue the fight to try and clarify this law in congress and that eighty five thousand dollars isn't even to mention all of the lawyers fees that is that he's going to have to pay can you talk about just how big of an impact this is going to be on this particular farmer and then we'll start talking about the bigger picture. well we took his representation pro bono because you know we believe in the rule of law and we believe that everybody should have a voice and
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a defense to see these claims. so that part is not going to be waiting to too much on him he's a single guy and he wanted to stand up against a monsanto and he knew that at the end of this if he wasn't going to be successful they were probably going to start trying to collect from whatever assets he has mark talk about the precedent that this case sets for future monsanto lawsuits as we know monsanto doesn't when the majority of its if it's cases that it does bring to court. that's right i mean the what this decision means for monsanto is that it's now ninety five percent of the acreage is already roundup ready and all of those farmers are technically infringing monsanto's patents they get to use this technology not because they have a right to use it because they own the seeds that they purchased but because monsanto dictates the terms at which they can use them so every single farmer who
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grows around up ready seats is an infringer it doesn't matter how they obtain the seed they could have bought it on the open market like my client did it could have bought it at a farmer's market could have bought it from their neighbor or it could have blown on their property and now every single time roundup ready seed germinates somebody is responsible for infringement and it's going to be the farmer in all those cases so it makes an infringer out of about ninety five percent of the farmers and it makes them beholden to the one single corporation to dictate the terms at which they can use property that they've purchased and that they own out right now mark you just talked about the effect that this has on local farmers let's talk about the effects that it has on consumers like you and me and our food prices if you could care to explain. well one of the immediate impacts is going to be less information for the consumer on what goes into their food there are a number of initiatives to try and label the food it's through through the state
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laws. and those have hit a number of roadblocks one thing that we had hoped from this decision is that if monsanto is going to require farmers who purchased from a grain elevator to be liable for infringement that they would it would also require the farmer the sea companies to segregate the seed at the grain elevator to give farmers a choice to buy conventional versus roundup ready now when it comes to soy they're all intermixed together at the grain elevator so the source of soy in this country is all commingled and there is no separation so because the initial source of the soy it's commingled and not going to be going to be separated at the grain elevator there will be less information for consumers to be able to know if what they're buying it is free of genetic modification mark walters has a very interesting thank you for your insights marc is
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a seattle patent attorney and partner at former lawrence and hong l.l.p. . experience. well we have some breaking news that is coming into the r t newsroom the associated press says that the u.s. justice department has been secretly monitoring them for over two months during that time the deal jay collected telephone records of reporters and editors at the a.p. the associated press called this quote a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations gather of the news the records obtained by the justice department lists of incoming and outgoing calls and the duration of each call for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters general a.p. office numbers in new york washington and hartford connecticut the main number for a.p. reporters in the house of representatives press gallery was also monitor the government would not say why it sought those records however but u.s. just u.s. officials have previously said in public testimony that the u.s.
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attorney in washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in an a.p. report on the failed terror plot. meanwhile a criminal investigation has now been launched into the case and the cause of a massive explosion at a plant in texas. the west texas fertilizer plant turned into a fireball on the evening of april seventeenth fourteen people were killed and nearly two hundred others were injured the blast was so big that it registered as a two point one magnitude and was felt fifty miles away now until late last week the incident was treated as an accident sixty investigators have interviewed some four hundred eleven witnesses resulting in no fewer than two hundred fifty leads those same investigators have been able to conclusively rule out whether natural causes and storage as the cause of this explosion now they have opened up the
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criminal investigation into the explosion and in a strange twist one of the first responders on the scene has been found with materials to make a pipe bomb the us already said that the two cases are unrelated for more on the investigation i was joined earlier by our to correspondent ramon galindo he covered the explosions from west texas and i started off by asking him if there was any indication why the authorities have only now decided to launch a criminal investigation. sure was that the announcement from the texas state department of public safety came out on friday announcing that they were instruction instructing texas rangers and the mcclelland county sheriff's department to open up their own criminal investigation now we have to remember that a.t.f. the bureau of alcohol tobacco and fire and the texas a and the texas state marshal's office has been investigating this from the start as a criminal investigation however as you mentioned there have been hundreds of interviews and hundreds of leads which the state of texas then says that made
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them go into this new criminal investigation being launched by the sheriff's department now that the state will only say that they don't want to leave any stone unturned and they want to give the community you know some confidence that every angle of them best a geisha is being looked at they don't want to anybody to jump to conclusions to indicate that there was any of play but they want to make sure that every stone that there is no stone unturned however it does the timing is a little bit suspicious because there was that arrest of the first responder also late last week and we'll get to that arrest in just a little bit but i i need a little more explanation if you could from on are they watching this probe to quell criticism or because they believe that there is credible evidence that there was foul play. right and they they won't say that there is any sort of credible evidence and they want to make sure that to say that as of right now there
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is no specific link between the arrests and any foul play that have been there they know that it was in a natural occurrence they think that it could still be an exit or it could be something having to do that somebody put something there deliberately you know i called all the agencies involved in investigation about any other possible rest they were able to get back to me or told me that they aren't able to give any more details as they move forward in the best occasion as i understand it ramon at the same time that this criminal power problems announced one of the first responders to the scene was arrested. elements to actually create that pipe bomb can you talk a little bit more about this man's case and i also understand that you were present when the man was actually giving a eulogy at a memorial for one of the first responders can you talk about those of us this bit of information sure well just hours before it was announced that the state and county were launching their own criminal investigation it was announced that the a.t.f. had arrested thirty one year old bryce reed now bryce reed is
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a volunteer west far paramedic who happened to be fired just two days after the emergency and now the sheriff's department says that they went to a home in abbott texas near west of an acquaintance of reed was given a box which contained explosive material according to a complaint by the a.t.f. bryce reed admitted to being in possession to those materials and then he was arrested hover over the weekend his. attorney said that he is not guilty that he is not in any way linked to the explosion and brush is a very interesting character because he was seen all over the town of west in the aftermath of the explosion consoling families and he even spoke at the memorial which was attended by president obama and spoke for more than five minutes about a fellow firefighter cyrus reed who was killed in the explosion so he's been a very visible figure in the aftermath of the west explosion and as we said earlier
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there is no known at link between this man and the explosion so far this plant has been under investigation since two thousand and six and it's fallen under the scrutiny of hazard material companies it's found under the scrutiny of the e.p.a. among the landau thank you so much for your reporting and please keep us updated as the story develops. well a mother's day celebration parade in new orleans turned into chaos over the weekend when three suspected gunmen opened fire on a crowd of spectators nineteen people were injured including two children the shooting happened in the seventh ward a neighborhood in an area that is actually described as a mix of low and middle income families the f.b.i. says that this shows a flaring up of street violence in the city and police are now hunting for the people responsible for this crime they have released numerous pictures and are asking the public to help identify these suspects our senior national correspondent marina has the latest. well so far they have been no arrests announced but we do
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know that the new orleans police department has released grainy surveillance video they released that early monday morning showing a possible suspect in connection to the mother's day parade shooting in the footage you can see the crowd suddenly scattering in all directions with some falling to the ground it appears as though parade goers are running from a man who turns and runs out of the picture and the person is wearing a white t. shirt and dark pants the image isn't very clear but police are still hoping that someone will recognize the perpetrator and notify investigators police posted a series of still images from that grainy video on you tube as well there's also been a ten thousand dollars reward offered for information leading to their arrest and indictments in this case now law enforcement officials believe that more than one gone was fired sunday afternoon now by sunday evening a law enforcement officials were speculating that at least three people were
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connected possibly to the mother's day parade shooting an f.b.i. spokesperson characterized the shooting as street violence with no connection to terrorism now the victims from this shooting includes ten men seven women a boy and a girl both ten years old children were reportedly grazed by a bullet but they are said to be in good condition at least three victims however were seriously wounded this is connected to the ongoing debate in the united states over gun control a debate that has this country essentially divided look what u.s. president barack obama wanted to do with his legislation that failed in the senate was that he wanted to force tougher background checks on people that were attempting to buy a weapon now if investigators in new orleans ultimately find the weapons that were responsible for the shooting and they find out that those weapons were not registered were not were not sold to the people that use them or the people that use them got them illegally that goes back to the. the gun control debate that goes
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back to what many want to do in strengthening access to firearms is have the proper procedures for people who want to buy a firearm so it's not clear yet if these guns that were used were illegally obtained but if they were that speaks to the debate that is ongoing in the united states that is sensually still getting a lot of attention but not much traction when it comes to enforcing more gun control that was our international correspondent. well digital privacy is not a victimless crime crime movie watchers have had that message drilled into their heads time and again during movie previews the internet has revolutionized the way we watch movies and has also made television film and music piracy easier to do than ever before as a result numerous companies have seen their profits take a nosedive federal prosecutors are now working harder than ever to catch these
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perpetrators and slap them with massive fines and jail time but a new study actually suggests that the people who rip content also actually spend three hundred percent more on money on buying these content rather then honest consumers are to correspondent margaret how will explains how all of this is possible. well the impact of music piracy and illegal sale of music has been at the center of this debate for years now some say that pirates are sucking music and profits from the industry the reasoning has been used as an excuse to hike up prices and make up for those that well it turns out piracy is real effect on music sales is much harder to pin down now reports from off looked at online copyright infringement in the u.k. and it found that overall piracy has a positive effect on music sales how so do you ask what turns out twenty per cent of the most prolific pirates spend three hundred percent more on online content
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than their us consumer counterparts even those in the department of justice has radar for internet piracy is like kenda com now he alleges that he's paying a fortune legally for his music now during an interview with the financial times celebrity hacker and alleged internet pirate cam dot com sad you know i have never uploaded or shared a video in my life i've always bought all of my content i've spent over twenty thousand dollars the past five years on i tunes i am not a pirate and as it turns out people just like him well they could be adding to the soaring profits of digital media now according to the international federation photographic industries digital music report of two thousand and thirteen the music industry as a whole brought in sixteen point five billion dollars in two thousand and twelve and five point six billion of that came from digital content that's up nine percent from two thousand and eleven so we don't know how much pirates are sucking from the
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music because they just not might they just might not be as nasty as they seem in washington margaret howell r.t. . well happy meal seekers in detroit were sent home hungry on friday after more than four hundred workers and more than sixty fast food restaurants actually walked off the job the detroit strike was the second to hit the city and over a week more than one hundred fast food workers staged the walkout in st louis on wednesday and thursday making this possibly the largest fast food strike in american history cooks and cashiers from restaurants like jimmy johns mcdonald's burger king long john silver's and k.f.c. all swapped their special laws for picket signs their demands for more for a minimum wage that actually reaches fifteen dollars an hour an hour and also for the right to form a union but in an age when unions are being constantly attacked and disbanded what chances do these workers realistically have at succeeding in their demands
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a political commentator sam sacks joins me now to weigh in hi there sam so start by talking about this fast food strike as i mentioned it's huge there are so many people that are participating in it and we also know that nearly half of the jobs that have been formed in the last three years have been low wage jobs so it's a huge amount of people as i had mentioned can you talk about this case in particular and also the likelihood of them passing anything as you said it's the biggest. food strike so far we've had so it's huge historically as far as how many workers are in these low wage jobs compared to how many were striking it's not that big but we see something building you know this is the fourth fast food strike that we've seen in the last five weeks or so started in new york which cargo st louis and now it's now it's in detroit here. what are we going to see out of it i don't know but you know we started also with wal-mart we saw what workers striking at wal-mart since and we sold the longshoremen we have the may day protests last year
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so we see something something building here but whether or not it's the people who are critical or laws are actually paying attention to it actually given to some of these demands that remains to be. so as you had talked about there was the wal-mart wal-mart strike that we see and there is this string of fast food protests we've also had the occupy wall street kind of protests and some of those are dedicated to labor strikes and unions are the policymakers actually listening well ok so last week the president was in texas a day before the strike he was there on thursday and he was talking and he was again promoting this nine dollars minimum wage we have these fast food workers they're asking for fifteen dollars an hour wage so we have the president calling for a nine dollars minimum wage at seven twenty five or seven fifty right now so that's a slight concession towards what workers are asking for but it's really not that much and if you if you look at the minimum wage itself if it were to have the same purchasing power today as it had in the one nine hundred sixty s. will it be well over ten dollars and if the minimum wage were to keep up with the increased productivity of workers be boards of twenty dollars so as far as what
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policies are coming out of washington addresses the they seem to fall short of the mark and that's that's coming out of congress if you look at it on a state level it's even worse in fact the the exact opposite is happening when you when you see right to work states that are proliferating also a tax on collective bargaining in places like wisconsin and ohio although it was repealed in ohio by workers ok so let's talk about congress since you brought it up what poll do these labor movements have in congress or do they have any any more well you labor put in a whole bunch of money in two thousand and if you can think of the last five years you haven't exactly seen congress pass any worker friendly pieces of legislation in two thousand and eight labor putting a lot of money trying to elect democrats to try to get this signature piece of their agenda passed which was the employee free choice act which is basically makes a little easier for workers to unionize. it takes away some of the hurdles that businesses can put in in place of union elections and things like that and they
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were really hoping that with democrats in congress democrats to control the house the senate and the presidency in two thousand and eight that they could get this employee free choice act passed it failed. two thousand and ten it hasn't been brought back up since then and you're also you're seeing it kind of go in reverse to in congress last week we saw house republicans they passed. i forgot what the legislation is called but it labor unions are saying it's an attack on the forty hour work week that basically allows workers and their employers to come up with a deal that workers can trade their overtime pay for more vacation days but you know whether or not it's actually giving them more flexibility there script schedule remains to be seen so it doesn't seem like congress is quite listening to the demands of these workers ok so you're saying congress isn't listening what effect does this lack of interest actually having on labor issues and the people that are actually working in this force with this problem is going to keep getting worse and worse and worse as you said if you look at where our new jobs are being created since the recession they're all being created in these kind of low wage
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service sector jobs so and these are the jobs that are now striking and if most of our jobs if this new economy to america is going to be based on these low wage service sector jobs then we need to pay them so that they can be. you know productive members of the economy so that they can buy things and in generate demand in the economy if if they're not going to be making enough money to pay their rent to buy gas to buy health care to afford an education and those are going to be real drags on our economy and also real drugs for people who care about our deficit because you know wal-mart workers are the biggest recipients of federal benefits when it comes down to it because they don't make enough money to make the ends meet the government has to come in and step in to fill the gap now despite all this lack of attention in congress than the moments that you could argue is building these movements as we said in detroit and chicago and all over the country right it sure looks like it i mean at least the labor action that we're seeing is building but if you'll go back to the seventy's to the sixty's we have one thousand
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labor actions a year and that number has calmed down down down in two thousand and i think there are only five labor. ns but that's you know you have to start back somewhere unions have gotten absolutely decimated a third of the workforce used to be unionized now it's down to below a tenth and just this year the end of last year when michigan decided to go right to work become a right to work state and there was a huge blow to the union movement i mean michigan is where private eyes private sector unions were born and it's come full circle now and with these right to work laws that's that's real danger for the legislature let's we only have a short amount of time left but let's talk about this attack on to unions that we have seen coming from all over the place does a union realistically have a chance of being born and an era where unions are being destroyed practically by the day well that's a good question you know unions are losing the battle right now whether or not they're trying to gain momentum and in reclaim the battle is another question but they're losing i mean we're conservatives who want to destroy the democratic fund
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raising wing are succeeding in corporate elite to want higher profits don't want to pay their workers more they're winning. whether or not it's time to start rethinking new work or models like cooperatives work or own cooperation thing like that remains to be seen but i don't think we can ditch unions just a political commentator sam sachs always got the inside on unions and organized labor thank you so much. when you think of all the times you have seen lawmakers play the fingerpointing game or whine about what people on the other side of the aisle are doing do you ever feel like the government is being run by a bunch of children well one town in minnesota that is actually the case every year the town of door said a town that is so small it doesn't even have its own zip code it holds a drive to pick the next mayor and this time around four year old bobby tuffs was awarded the position he is the youngest mayor in history he also knows an awful lot about the best fishing spots in town as well as the best way to use now this is of
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course just a symbolic position and no one has asked to see his birth certificate yet and make sure that he's an american citizen his mayoral duties now include helping people cross the street as well as singing and dancing which is more that can be said for certain other lawmakers currently holding office and that is going to do it for now for more of the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america there were close to all of our interviews online in full and for the latest greatest information coming out from around your world and stories that we just did not have time to get to here on air check out our web site r c dot com slash usa and don't forget to follow me on twitter at meghan underscore lopez i want to know your common story suggestions and feedback and that in the.
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oh. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize that everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harvey welcome to the big picture. me he'd. be an easy to. see.

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